“This Tax Day, 55 percent of Americans regard the income taxes they have to pay as fair, the lowest percentage Gallup has measured since 2001,” reports Jeffrey Jones, an analyst with the veteran pollster, which has been gauging the sentiment for more than six decades.
Now, that was a different time.
From 1943 through 1945 - the patriotic years of World War II - few Americans complained about their taxes, with an average of 87 percent of Americans saying their taxes were fair. That’s a 32-point gap when compared with today.
The partisan divide on the issue also has become pronounced: 66 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of liberals believe their taxes are fair, compared to 49 percent of Republicans and 45 percent of conservatives. Gallup also finds half of Americans say their income taxes are “too high,” with most of the rest (45 percent) saying they are about right. Two percent believe their taxes are “too low.”
Americans are also more likely this year (64 percent) than last year (53 percent) to believe that their taxes will go up in the next year.
“Although a majority of Americans still believe the income taxes they pay are fair, the 55 percent who say so is the lowest Gallup has measured since 2001, before the first of two rounds of federal income tax cuts went into effect,” Mr. Jones observes.
“Since the second round of tax cuts in 2003, income taxes have held at about the same level, though Congress and the president did agree to raise income taxes on the wealthiest Americans as part of the agreement to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’ tax increases that were scheduled to go into effect this year,” he says.
“It is possible that this tax increase affected how Americans perceive their own federal income taxes, even though very few Americans on a percentage basis would likely have seen an increase. However, nearly all working Americans are now getting less take-home pay since the Social Security payroll tax holiday expired at the beginning of this year,” Mr. Jones concludes.